Reformed reflections on spirituality

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Alan P. F. Sell


The delightful village of Cavendish, Suffolk, straddles a Roman road. From the point of view of English Dissent it is in "martyr country," for John Copping and Elias Thacker (or Ffawker) were hanged at nearby Bury St. Edmunds on June 4 and 5, 1583, respectively. Daniel Sutton, a former rector of Cavendish, being unable to give his "unfeigned assent and consent" to the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England was, like nearly two thousand others, ejected from his living under the Act of Uniformity of 1662. It is just the kind of place to which Alexander James Grieve (1874-1952) might have been expected to remove when, after nearly forty years of training ministers in Bradford, Edinburgh, and Manchester, he sought a sphere where he could "try and practise a bit of it for myself." For Grieve was rooted in, and deeply knowledgeable about, the history and principles of Dissent, above all the principle concerning the supreme and only headship of Christ over his Church (with its negative implications concerning the rights of monarch or parliament over worship and church order). On a wall in Cavendish United Reformed (formerly Congregational) Church, a plaque bears the following inscription:

To the glory of God
and in grateful memory of
Alexander James Grieve, M.A., D.D.
Principal, Lancashire Independent College, 1922-1943
Minister, Cavendish Congregational Church, 1943-1951
Missionary, Theologian, Minister

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How to Cite
Sell, A. P. F. (2002). Reformed reflections on spirituality. Reformed Review, 56(2), 139-161. Retrieved from
Spiritual life -- Christianity; Experience (Religion)